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December 5, 2004

Moving ISPs

Hopefully very soon now I'll be getting broadband. Because this is with a different ISP, the web space my LiveJournal icons and stuff is going to go bye bye, so I will probably move them to my main domain. Of course, the fun part will be when my email address changes, and I have to track down every online service I've given my old one to and give them the new one. A bit of a hassle, but hopefully worth it...

Now if only I could stop slacking on BlogShares and do some more work on my web page. :)

Posted at 7:59 PM | Comments (0)

December 3, 2004

Random things

Just finished watching the last episode of Farscape season 4. You could probably hear the cry of anguish as it finished. Now I just have to wait until the subsequent mini-series either screens here or comes out on DVD...

NZ government seems to be very close to voting the civil union bill into law. This will allow same-sex couples to enter into a marriage-like civil union. It's about time.

It's becoming obvious that at some point I'm going to need to upgrade to Window XP... I attempted to use Yahoo! Chat today in FireFox. This required downloading Java support, which I started doing, until the Java installer announced it was only suitable for newer versions of Windows, and then stalled. So I guess I'll be using IE to access Java stuff...

Posted at 10:12 PM | Comments (0)

November 28, 2004

AVG anti-virus

I downloaded AVG free edition version 7 last night, and was glad to find that it is actuall a lot better than version 6. The email scanner seems to work with Pegasus Mail (It may have done before and just not told me, since it seems to do so transparently) and the interface as a whole looks a lot better.

I'm hoping the new version doesn't crash my PC after doing a full scan, like 6 did... I have yet to do one though.

Posted at 5:42 PM | Comments (0)

November 16, 2004

Things pissing Alden off at the moment #1

It's that time of year again, when I become mysteriously unable to get a decent dial-up connection. When I tell my modem to dial in, it re-negotiates twice and I end up with a sub-56K connection. At the moment I'm connected at 28800bps

I'm pretty sure it's not the modem, as I borrowed another modem from work last year and it had the same problem. Besides which, the modem connects at high-speed fine for most of the year - it's just between November and sometime early the next year that it starts becoming a problem.

Perhaps Telecom lowers the quality of their phone lines to "encourage" people over to its highly-expensive broadband "offerings". Perhaps it's just that the warm weather does something to the phone lines to lower the quality. Maybe it's Paradise's modems. Maybe it's solar flares. Whatever it is, it makes the internet surfing experience more painful than it should be.

Posted at 4:26 PM | Comments (0)

November 11, 2004

Updating Firefox

There's a new version of Firefox out. The only problem I find with updating Firefox is that some of the extensions you've installed and gotten used to will immediately stop working. This time it was Googlebar, and I had to uninstall it then reinstall it to get the toolbar back (And now it's not appearing in the Extensions dialog).

It's still several thousand times better than Internet Explorer, of course.

Posted at 9:35 PM | Comments (0)

October 17, 2004

Reinstalling Windows

Things I've noted while reinstalling Windows:

  1. The process is far more painful than it should be. The biggest problem is, of course, every piece of hardware needing software drivers. Plug and Play never really did work...
  2. More software needs to keep its settings somewhere other than the registry. I discovered that FireFox must do, because reinstalling Windows wiped out all the settings, extensions and bookmarks. This added extra hassle to an already annoying procedure. In contrast, software like Pegasus runs without me having to reinstall or reconfigure it. This Is Nice. (Of course, even FireFox's way is better than IE, where I have to download the browser all over again.)
  3. Downloading 40 different critical updates is stupid. Microsoft should package them all as one, and update the critical update package every time they issue a new update. Update.

Am currently installing DirectX 9.0c so I can have some games working again. Apple's range of computers is becoming more and more attractive.

Addendum: Am now downloading MSN Messenger, which brings up two more good points: (a) 6.7MB is way too big for an instant message program. (b) "setup9x.exe" is a dumb name for an installer. In three weeks, how will I know what application it's for?

Posted at 6:36 PM | Comments (0)

September 29, 2004

Trouble in Paradise

I have a bit of a problem with's transparent proxy server. Sometimes when I go to look at my web page, I don't get the current version. The reason is because the transparent proxy server is caching the page and not bothering to check if it has changed or not.

Grrr, say I.

I've been watching an anime series recently that my brother, Morgan, bought the box set of called "Chobits". Very very odd series.

Posted at 9:09 PM | Comments (0)

September 27, 2004

Updates on previous entries

My strategy for dealing with Yahoo's redirect problem seems to be working. Yahoo has dropped over one hundred redirected pages for from its index and is starting to index the proper URLs at This should hopefully reduce the number of unnecessary redirects and lessen server load.

It occurred that the reason BlogSpot is over-represented at BlogShares is because Blogger's free accounts ping by default, and that's where BS picks up new blogs. Add to this the fact that Google pimps Blogger via the Google Toolbar, and it's little wonder many of the listed blogs are BlogSpot blogs.

OTOH, LiveJournal is poorly represented (around 3000 listed) because only paid LJ accounts (accounting for about 4% of all LJ accounts) can ping, and the pinging is turned off by default (ISTR). LiveJournal doesn't do much in the way of working with the rest of the blogosphere.

There are even fewer Xangas (about a hundred or so), so I'm guessing Xanga doesn't ping at all.

I also today ran Ad-Aware for the first time in a while, and it reported that a cookie my site generates is a tracking cookie. I suspect this may be because it contains the user's email address. Pah.

Posted at 8:25 PM | Comments (0)

September 26, 2004

A Real WTF Moment

When I switched on my PC today, the scanner software which starts up at boot time reported that the flatbed scanner (A Hewlett Packard ScanJet 5100C) wasn't responding. I took a look at the scanner, and the light on front was flashing.Odd, I thought. So I tried the usual measure of unplugging it for a moment and then plugging it back in.

At this point the scan head started moving backwards and forwards and playing classical music.

Yes, I'm serious. It created notes by varying the motor speed

Current theory is that it's a measure designed to make the user think he's gone mad. I googled for a bit but couldn't find any reference at all to an HP scanner playing classical music, so I'm not entirely sure why it was doing that.

Sadly it did not do it a second time when I attempted to replicate the procedure, though the scanner is working fine... All I can say is someone at Hewlett Packard has one hell of a sense of humour.

Posted at 5:17 PM | Comments (3)

September 24, 2004

May the firmware be with you.

As Boing Boing reports, the Star Wars Trilogy DVDs contain a wee surprise for Xbox users - there's software on them which automatically updates the Xbox firmware without telling you. Which might spell trouble for people with modded Xboxes.

And you thought it was bad when it was just bored kids putting out viruses. :P

Posted at 11:54 PM | Comments (0)

September 23, 2004

Microsoft broke my Windows

So I ran RegClean, a Microsoft product, to clean the Windows registry on my PC. It was so thorough that it also deleted a number of references to explorer.exe - resulting in My Computer and folders in general to lose the Open and Explore options on their context menu, and no longer open in explorer by default.

One would think that a piece of software purposely written by Microsoft for cleaning the registry would not do that sort of thing, wouldn't one?

But apparently one would be wrong. The odd thing is I'd run RegClean before with no problems.

Posted at 6:56 PM | Comments (0)

September 19, 2004

Something which I've just realised Yikes needs

It can already search for text within files on a disk, but it also needs to have an option to search in zip files... Though that would mean hunting down code to decode zip files. Hrm.

I did a quick Google for applications, which do this already, but they're not free. WinZip 9.0 doesn't appear to do it (Why not?! That would appear to be an invaluable tool!) and there isn't even an official add-on to do it.

I believe Window XP does that already, which might be why it's not in WinZip. But still, needs to be in Yikes, definitely.

Posted at 11:19 PM | Comments (0)

September 14, 2004

New Zealand's Broadband

Bruce Simpson writes a pretty good article on the current state of broadband in NZ. Telecom still had the market pretty much to itself and is making the most of it.

Ironically there was an item on TV1 news tonight about how Auckland University is offering streaming video of lectures over the internet so that students can attend lectures without leaving their home. In my experience, streaming video works very poorly over dial up. Are they suggesting students, many of whom have no other source of income, should borrow even more from the government in order to afford broadband?

Posted at 6:17 PM | Comments (0)

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